Prior to the game on Saturday, Villa had started the previous two campaigns with away trips to the capital and had failed to win either and also failed to score a goal. However, what happened against Arsenal in the first game of this season will live long in the memory of many a Villa fan and it also saw the hope and expectancy levels for the 2013/2014 campaign rise a substantial amount.
Due to the Super Cup, the game against Chelsea has been brought forward and Villa face a second trip to the capital in the space of four days but this is sure to be a much tougher test than the one the team faced the other day.
So, what should we fans expect from the game tomorrow – another famous victory or another drubbing like the one suffered at the Bridge last season?
One thing that is certain as we approach the game is that the 8-0 demolition last season will still be fresh in the minds of both the players and the staff as they prepare to try and topple Mourinho’s title contenders. A much more solid outfit will take to the pitch and that, combined with a genuine goal threat through out the team, suggests the Chelsea faithful may not have it all its own way. For me, Villa should treat this as a free game almost and by that I mean no-one expected us to beat Arsenal so therefore we should attack Chelsea from the off and if we put them under enough pressure then who knows what could happen on Wednesday evening?
With only one enforced change from the 11 who started against Arsenal, Paul Lambert is expected to stick with the lions who earned that famous win at The Emirates. Nathan Baker is set to be out for a week after injuring his ankle early on against Arsenal and I have a sneaky feeling that Jores Okore may be given a chance to impress the management as he looks to capitalise on the injury suffered by Baker. However, Ciaran Clark came on at the weekend and performed well considering a lack of match action recently and would feel aggrieved should he not reclaim the vacant centre half spot. Yacouba Sylla is set to be in contention again after recovering from a twisted ankle suffered early last week and will most likely feature on the bench to begin with.
The Opposition – Chelsea
Chelsea started their pursuit of another Barclays Premier League triumph with a comfortable 2-0 victory over newcomers Hull on Sunday afternoon. Jose Mourinho looked as if he hadn’t been away and his team seemed to play with confidence and a freedom that showed other title contenders that Chelsea mean business this year.
However, they did appear to slow the tempo right down in the second half and seemed happy enough to stick with 2-0 when really they could have pressed on and scored 3, 4 or even 5 goals should they have wanted to do so. Villa will also look to target the defence, which can be got at if you attack it with pace and power, two qualities that our forwards have in abundance.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho could rotate his squad against Aston Villa with Monday’s trip to Manchester United in mind. Juan Mata, Andre Schurrle, Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku are all vying for a start but David Luiz remains sidelined just as he did at the weekend against Hull.
Kick Off: 19:45
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Tickets: Still available: £52 to £55 [adults], £23.50 [O65s and U18s] and £23.50 to £55 [disabled supporters]
Referee: Kevin Friend
Last Season: Chelsea 8-0 Aston Villa